October 2019

Graduate Leo crowned hospitality hero for supporting next generation of chefs

Read time: approx 1 mins

A University College Birmingham graduate has received a special award from the hospitality industry in recognition of his charity work and support for the next generation of young chefs.

Former Level 3 Professional Cookery student Leo Kattou was named winner of the 57 Hospitality Heroes – Growing a Better World competition held by Kraft Heinz and Arena last week.

Leo, a senior sous chef at Birmingham's Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant, was nominated by fellow hospitality professionals for the award, which recognises those who have gone above and beyond to give something back to the industry in their spare time.

The judges were impressed by Leo's accomplishments, including mentoring young chefs, raising £11,000 for Help Refugees and organising a Greek pop-up fundraising night, as well as donating his hair to the Little Princess Trust and organising a charity run in memory of his friend Matt Campbell.

Audrey Dilmi, Marketing Lead Foodservice UK from The Kraft Heinz Company, said: "Leo was nominated by two separate people for his unwavering dedication to hospitality and fundraising.

"The competition marks the 150th anniversary of the Heinz brand and we're delighted we could use this moment to highlight those creating a better future for the industry."

Leo, a semi-finalist on BBC's MasterChef: The Professionals in 2017, saw off strong competition for the Hospitality Heroes award from Oliver Darrington of The Landmark London, as well as BaxterStorey's Sam Ross, who was named one of the BBC's influential 100 Women of 2018.

Lorraine Wood, from Arena, said: "We will be delighted to welcome Leo to the Arena Board for the next 12 months.

"He will also receive a donation to the charity of his choice and enjoy tickets to Arena networking events throughout the year."

Leo first started working at Simpsons as a 16-year-old while studying at UCB, completing a highly successful work placement at the Edgbaston restaurant. Watch Leo talk about his journey here.

Discover our full range of courses at UCB's College of Food and Hospitality Management here.

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